A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 10:1-9
Theme: The harvest is rich but the labourers are few.
The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them,
‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals.
Salute no one on the road.
Whatever house you go into, let your first words be,
“Peace to this house!”
And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house.
Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you”.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel Reflection 18 Oct Saint Luke, evangelist Luke 10:1-9
Luke is the only evangelist to have written a work in two parts, the gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Having told the story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, he went on to tell the story of the early church, in particular the story of Saint Paul and his great missionary journeys. This two volume work begins in the city of Jerusalem with the priest Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, at his duties in the Temple, and it ends in Rome with Paul under house arrest and yet preaching the gospel to all who came to visit him. Luke understood that the gospel, the church, began in Jerusalem but by the time he came to write it had reached the city of Rome. From Jerusalem to Rome is a wonderful sweep. Both cities have been the two primary places of Christian pilgrimage from the earliest days of the church until today.
Luke was very aware that the story of the early church was the continuation of the story of Jesus and what linked the two stories for him was the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit who came down upon Jesus at his baptism and shaped his life and ministry came down upon the followers of Jesus, the church, at Pentecost and shaped the life and ministry of the church. We are part of that story of the church today and insofar as we are open to the Holy Spirit our story will continue the story of Jesus. The risen Jesus wants to continue his life and ministry in us, the church, through the Holy Spirit.
In the very way Luke has written his two volume work, he is telling us that the church has no meaning apart from Jesus, and, in a sense, Jesus has no meaning apart from the church. As Jesus sent out the seventy two in the gospel reading, he keeps sending us out as labourers in God’s harvest, empowering us with the Holy Spirit as he sends us out. The work Jesus did in Galilee, Samaria, Judea, he continues to do in and through all of us who are the Spirit filled community of his disciples. This is our calling and our privilege.